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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents an overview of the book Critical Practice from Voltaire to Foucault, Eagleton and Beyond: Contested Perspectives, which not only presents a history of criticism but also a methodological reading of its practice, constituted around in-depth case studies of six individuals who found themselves in that role. The book talks about Terry Eagleton and Hayden White, whose energetic and productive critical work, while also demonstrating the use of the historical-materialist (H-M) method, comes toward the end of what Hobsbawm ironically labeled, "the short 20th century". Critical practice directs attention to that dual dialectic of living systems, of which a society is the most significant form, exploring what might be otherwise about the historical object of interest and with what potential effects. Social philosophy identifies a conjoint interest in the truth of the concept (usually liberty in the largest sense) and the means of putting that into practice.

Keywords: critical practice; François-Marie Arouet Voltaire; Hayden White; historical-materialist (H-M) method; Horkheimer's social philosophy; Michel Foucault; Terry Eagleton



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